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Although not the first Tasmanian 12CSVT to be set aside for preservation - that honour goes to 2144 (ex ZC19 ex 1318) - the most significant of the extant Tasmanian 12CSVT's, 2118 (ex ZA6), has been delivered, by road, to it new home - the Tasmanian Transport Museum in Glenorchy.
Coverage of its transport from Tasrail's East Tamar Jctn Workshops to the TTM at Glenorchy has been covered in detail, with photos, on the Facebook pages of the Tas. Transport Museum and Tasmanian Railway Group.
Tasrail (ATN / PN) No. 2118, ex ANR (Tas) / TGR No. ZA6, is one of the most historically significant locomotives in Australia, being the last English Electric (GEC / EE) locomotive built at Rocklea, Qld, the last EE built in Australia and the last EE built in the world.
Delivered to the TGR in June 1976, it would be the final brand new loco to enter service in Tasmania until Progress Rail (USA) built Caterpillar powered TR class Nos. TR01 & TR04 arrived in November 2013.
2118 (expected to be returned to its original i.d. as ZA6), which, ever since April 1988, carried the Australian Bi-centenary logo on its side (retained after its repainting from AN green / yellow livery to 'reverse' yellow / green livery), is now preserved alongside pioneering TGR EE diesel-electric No. X1 (the first main-line diesel electric to enter service in Australia).
Credit for the initial impetus for preserving 2118 (ZA6), must go to the founding management committee of Diesel Traction Tasmania, whose creation in 2011 was prompted by the increasing withdrawals of the big EE's and the fear that they would all go to scrap. At the time, the major Tasmanian 3'6" preservation groups (TTMS, DVR & DRR) had little interest in seeking preservation of the big EE's, due to their size, space available to house them and being air-braked, they were of little use to the 3'6" groups, whose rolling stock collections were all vacuum braked.
Whilst DTT's initial appeals to Tasrail focussed on saving one of the last surviving 'ZC's (ex QR '1300's), correspondence pertaining to the 12CSVT's as a whole, made specific mention of the historical engineering significance of 2118 (ZA6) and aided by the internal lobbying efforts of a number of senior DTT members who worked for Tasrail as drivers, Tasrail came to the realisation of the significance of 2118 (ZA6) and graciously agreed to retain it due to its significance.
Initially no indication was given by Tasrail as to where they would conserve 2118 (ZA6) and DTT at the time did not have a home, however some senior committee members of the TTMS took an interest in it and after overcoming some internal opposition (not steam, just another diesel, too modern, not compatible (brakes), too big, no room, etc.) they prevailed and offered Tasrail a suitable and appropriate home for this very museum-worthy locomotive.
2118 (ZA6) has been out of service since July 2005, when it was parked up with traction motor faults. It has now been almost a decade since the last major loco scrapping purge and 2118 (ZA6) has been sitting quietly on the "Showgrounds Road" at East Tamar Jctn Workshops, with the other remaining stored EE's ever since, with no real indication what Tasrail planned to do with them, since a planned sale to a U.K. company fell through a few years ago. The first indication something was stirring occurred a few weeks ago, when 2118 (ZA6) was shunted out from amongst its fellow stored EE's and moved over into the main workshops yard.
Whilst it would have been preferable to tow 2118 (ZA6) south to Brighton Hub yard and even rail it to the TTM, via the disused Hobart line, issues with the loco's bogies (which had been submerged in floodwaters at one point during its storage), braking functionality, the Hobart line being disconnected from the Tasrail system at Bridgewater Jctn in addition to having a short section lifted at the Whitestone Point subdivision development (to facilitate laying of services (sewage, water, electricity, etc.), let alone the intractable bureaucracy in getting authorisation for a running gear inspection, being towed south, temporarily reconnecting the Hobart line and traversing it (needing to hand flag all the out of service level crossings along the way), the simplest method to get the loco south was to truck it the whole way. As this is an expensive exercise, Tasrail are likely to recoup the cost via another scrap purge.
Hopefully before the rest of the stored EE's go to scrap, there will be a few more offered for preservation to DRR & DVR which haven't been offered any locos as yet. L'ton & N.E. Rlwy. (ex DTT) already have 2144 (ZC19) & 2122 (ZB3) allocated to them, and will soon have them moved to a new yard being established at Turners Marsh on the N.E. Line. Other candidates for preservation include at least one (two?) of the original 'Z' class (2110 - 2113); 2114 (ZA1), the last 'ZA' in service and either 2123 (ZB5), the last 'ZB' in service or / and 2128 (ZB14), the first of the ex QR EE's to enter service in Tas. Unfortunately I cant see any of the rebuilds ('ZP' / 'ZR' or 'MKA's) surviving.
With both CLP10 (ex CL17) the final EMD 'Bulldog' nosed loco built and 2118 (ZA6) the final EE loco built both secured in preservation, a trifecta for the win would hopefully include 8050, the final Alco built in Australia.
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